Category Archives: Look About

Libertarians On the Editorial Page ?

The Richmond Times-Dispatch published an editorial today outlining the principles on which it stands that sounds remarkably libertarian:

We believe in freedom — in liberty, the ultimate cause. As the Founders stated in the Declaration of Independence, all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights — among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Individuals have the right to self-determination: to do as they wish, up to the point at which they infringe on the rights of another. Government’s primary purpose is to protect individual rights against aggression; that is why individuals cede to government a monopoly on the legitimate initiation of force, though they always retain the right to use force in self-defense.

We believe in the right to property. Individuals are granted a limited time on Earth, and they spend much of that time in arduous toil. They offer their labor in consensual exchange for money, which they then offer in consensual exchange for goods. To divest them of their money and property without profound justification is to rob them of their labor — and hence a portion of their lives. Science-fiction writer Frank Herbert may have put it best: “Between depriving a man of one hour from his life and depriving him of his life there exists only a difference of degree. You have done violence to him, consumed his energy. Elaborate euphemisms may conceal your intent to kill, but behind any use of power over another the ultimate assumption remains: ‘I feed on your energy.'”

We believe in free enterprise. There is no such thing as the capitalist “system” — capitalism is but the sum of the economic interactions occurring naturally among individuals who are free to pursue their own prosperity. A system of laws and regulations is necessary to safeguard the innocent from the depredations of the wicked, but government should not interfere in the free and honest exchange of goods and services.

(…)

We believe in limited government. Because it relies at bottom on the threat of coercion, government should perform only those functions society cannot perform through any other means.

(…)

We believe in fiscal conservatism. Because taxes confiscate the labor of the people, public officials have a solemn responsibility not to waste the proceeds on frivolous or foolish programs or projects. Taxation itself is not theft, but incontinent prodigality with the proceeds of the taxpayers’ labor is.

Sounds good to me.

“We Need” Doesn’t Obligate The Government

Over on my War On Christmas Blog post I wrote at the Unrepentant Individual (where I advocate a satirical War On Christmas Blog), I’ve gotten some interesting comments and trackbacks. One trackback came from a Help Save Christmas, a blog that I’m still unsure whether it’s satirical or not. Another was from a definitely-satirical War On Christmas blog. My suggestion to start one was not entirely original, it seems.

But one comment just arrived that I thought needed a response:

I agree with that – We need a national mid-winter, Non-Secular Holiday.

Below is my annual holiday rant – Happy Holidays

Consider this – After Rome took over Christianity it was natural that one of the most important Roman feast days would evolve into the most important Christian holiday – December 25th.

Just four day before is the Winter Solstice, Dec 21st. In the northern hemisphere the shortest day and longest night of the year. This is an occasion that has been celebrated since prehistoric times. It is a marker on the Celestial Calendar that is shared by all of us on this Earth.

Why not shake out this holiday into two days – Separate the religious from the Secular – The 25th will be the religious day of observance, Christians would celebrate it as they like, free from the diluting influences us infidels – and, of course, it would continue to be called Christmas.

December 21st could be the day of celebration for everyone. This has always been known as Yule or Yuletide – it is an ancient name for the season.

We need is a National Holiday for all of us at this time of the year.

You know what, I’ve got absolutely nothing against celebrating Yuletide. But why do we need a National Holiday? If you’re going to wait around for our Congressmen to do something likely to piss off the 85% Christian population, you’re going to be worm food by the time it happens.

Why not just start celebrating it yourself, with your friends. Maybe start an online movement to celebrate Yuletide. Get this thing off the ground yourself. Don’t wait for the government to “create” a holiday that you say has been celebrated since prehistoric times. Don’t act as if you can’t celebrate Yuletide unless the government makes it a holiday, just start doing it.

Christmas didn’t become a Federal Holiday in America until 1870. You may have an uphill battle to get Yuletide declared a holiday by the government, BUT THAT DOESN’T STOP YOU FROM CELEBRATING IT.

It Could Be Worse

For all the complaints one can make about politics in the United States, it pays to remind ourselves that things could be worse, we could live in a country where the public has so thoroughly bought into the big government ideal that there is little hope of things ever changing. For example, take our neighbor to the North:

Ottawa, ON –According to an Ipsos Reid survey among the general public, a majority of Canadian adults rank a patient wait times guarantee as more important than any other of the Government’s priorities. Of the five policy promises made by the Government of Canada during the last federal election, 42% of Canadians said that “a patient wait time guarantee that would reduce wait times for key health services” was the most important to them personally. This compares to lowering taxes (19%), restoring accountability to Ottawa (14%), tackling crime (14%), and implementing a choice in childcare program (9%).

One wonders where making sure the trains run on time fits in that list.

H/T: Club For Growth

Cato Institute Drug War Interactive Map

If you haven’t seen this, head over and take a look. They’ve compiled a google map where each “pin” is a botched paramilitary-style raid. Some are simply raids on innocents’ houses. Others are raids where either an innocent person, a non-violent offender, or a police officer was killed. Either way, it’s staggering how this “Epidemic of ‘Isolated Incidents'” fills up this map.

What does this map mean?

The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of “no-knock” or “quick-knock” raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt — it’s difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night.

But even more disturbing are the number of times such “wrong door” raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map below aims to refute that notion.

How to use this map

Click on each marker on the map for a description of the incident and sources. Markers are precise in cases where the address of an incident was reported. Where media reports indicate only a town or neighborhood, markers are located at the closest post office, city hall, or landmark. Incident descriptions and outcomes are kept as current as possible.

Other map features:

–Using the “plus” and “minus” buttons in the map’s upper left-hand corner, users can zoom in on the map to street-level, as well as switch between street map and satellite views. In some large metropolitan areas, there are so many incidents in such close proximity that they tend to overlap unless viewed on a small scale (try zooming in on New York City, for example).

–Users may isolate the incidents by type by clicking on the colored markers in the key (see only “death of an innocent” markers, for example).

–The search function just below the map produces printable descriptions of the raids plotted on the map, and is sortable by state, year, and type of incident.

Hat Tip: Boortz

Let’s Make Them Prove It

You’ve heard of The Free State Project ?

Well, someone else is starting up The Free Lunch Project.

Are you frustrated at the loss of a free-ride and sense of entitlement in America, while the growth of government involvement and distribution of wealth stalls? Do you want to live in communities where your right to three meals a day and universal healthcare are respected? Do you want others to fund welfare by forcing them to redistribute, by force if necessary, the earnings they have worked hard for? Are you looking for freedom without responsibility?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, then the Free Lunch Project has a solution for you.

Heh.

Right now, they’re taking nominations for the state they’ll all move to and turn into a socialist paradise, and Jay Tea at Wizbang is nominating his home state neighboring state of Massachusetts.

I am personally endorsing Massachusetts, for the following reasons:

  1. It’s a smaller state, both geographically and population-wise, so it’ll be easier to influence.
  2. It’s been losing population since the last census, so a sudden influx of 20,000 newcomers could have a tremendous affect in elections.
  3. With Democrats now having an absolute lock on both Houses of the legislature, the governorship, all ten House seats, and both Senate seats, it’s well on its way already. The “Massachusetts Republican” is just shy of making the endangered-species list.
  4. It’s right next door to me, so I can nuke up some popcorn and enjoy the show.
  5. It has New England winters, so their theories will be put to a much harsher environmental test than California will (excluding earthquakes, brush fires, mudslides, and other far less predictable natural hazards).

The only question is, if this happens in The Bay State, how will we be able to tell the difference ?

Simon Says: How Many More?

(with apologies to Heather Alexander)

Without warrants, truncheons swing
Wanton shootings’ piercing ring
No one knocks, they barge ahead —
Another innocent lies dead.

Midnight nightmare, bloody hand
All of us must take a stand
Sound the call, take up the cry
How many innocents now must die?

“Follow orders as you’re told” —
That should make your blood run cold
Protest till you die or drop
This trampling of rights must stop

There’s no reason, there’s no gain
No knock searches are insane
Let not one excuse pass by
How many innocents now must die?

Guard your children, do not fail
Send these bullies off to jail
Write the Congress, join the fight
And they won’t come by in the night

Use your vote and use your head
Make these no-knock searches dead
Raise the flag up to the sky
How many innocents now must die?

Dawn has broke, the time has come
Never more let mourning come
Never more let innocent die
Let that be your battle cry

Midnight nightmare, bloody hand
All of us must take a stand
Sound the call, take up the cry
How many innocents now must die?

Without warrants, truncheons swing
Wanton shootings’ piercing ring
No one knocks, they barge ahead —
Another innocent lies dead.

Lawless nightmare, bloody hand
All of us must take a stand
Sound the call, take up the cry
How many innocents now must die?
How many innocents now must die?
How many innocents now must die?
HOW MANY MORE MUST WE SEE DIE?

>;-(

Milton Friedman Dies at 94

This news came across my inbox today. With sadness, I must pass it along:

Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who advocated an unfettered free market and had the ear of Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, died Thursday. He was 94.

In more than a dozen books and in his column in Newsweek magazine, Friedman championed individual freedom in economics and politics.

His theories won him a Nobel Prize in economics in 1976.

Milton Friedman, in addition to his economic work, was a champion of individual freedom and bears his mark on the philosophy of the authors here. He is a central figure in the philosophy of libertarianism and free-market economics. He will be missed, but in that emotion, he will also be remembered.

As a blogger, I’m a regular reader of Catallarchy, where his grandson, Patri Friedman, posts. In addition, I regularly read Milton’s son David Friedman’s blog “Ideas”, and read his book, The Machinery of Freedom. Being involved in the world of blogging, reading their work (and sharing Patri’s affinity for poker), it makes something like this a little bit more personal. So I’d like to extend my condolences to both of them, and their entire family, for their loss.

The Case Against Prohibition

Over at Catallarchy, Patri Friedman makes the case against drug prohibition, in a way that doesn’t rely on the ideas of personal liberties, natural rights, or any other theoretical basis:

I think all this talk of incentives and local vs. global control is making way too complex an argument which in this case is completely unnecessary. The reason why we should legalize drugs can be summed up in four words:

Drug prohibition doesn’t work.

It doesn’t matter if we can handle drugs, or if, as Parker claims, we use them irrationally. It doesn’t matter who suffers from drug use (mainly the user, as libertarians argue, or society, as others argue). What matters is that passing laws and establishing Drug Enforcement Agencies has a demonstrably negligible effect on drug use – and a demonstrably terrible effect on civil liberties. It appears that order to actually eliminate drugs you would have to impose a completely insane police state – since nothing short has worked, including some moderately-insane police states (ie Singapore).

Yep, that about sums it up. Granted, I’m an adherent to the libertarian ideal of “it’s my body and I’ll do what I damn well please”, but that hasn’t exactly gotten us so far. And to a large degree, trying to make that argument against people who firmly believe that the government should have the power to protect us from ourselves isn’t going to be fruitful.

Sometimes you just need to pull the end-around:

This is a simple, pragmatic argument that depends only on empirical evidence whose conclusion is glaringly clear to anyone who looks at it seriously. Thus it is vastly superior to any libertarian invocation of personal liberty, incentives, or whatever. I believe in most of our pet theories too, but no one else cares, so when there is a universal argument why use one that will only apply to the choir?

Arguing over ideals only works with people who can convinced their ideals are wrong. Everyone has their own ideals, and objective proofs of right and wrong are hard to find. Facts, though, are much more stubborn, and at best we can argue over interpretations of those facts. When the facts are on your side, argue from the facts, and back it up with ideals, not the other way around.

Round-up of Cartoon Craziness

Hold The Mayo makes some good points in Cartoon Critics about the reality of what we will find in Middle Eastern cultures. What we definitely won’t find is a secular, liberal society that tolerates those who are different and encourages diversity. Instead, we find the medieval society that the West left behind during The Enlightenment.

Lisa, at Liberal Common Sense, highlights some of the violent reactions and the Vatican’s reaction. The Vatican is, essentially, saying a pox on both your houses. The middle road doesn’t work between Liberal and Medieval society. It’s time to choose which you believe in.

Catallarchy’s Patri Friedman points out the hypocrisy of protecting one set of sensibilities and not another. He’s right, of course. But which issue and behavior is more dangerous to liberty?

Stuart Richards, from Hammer of Truth, gives the Muslim rioters the same answer I did: “Get over it”. He also wonders if we live in Iran now. I’m wondering myself.

Instapundit, who actually doesn’t need my links to bring him readers, has lots of coverage of the whole affair. This entry is good, and there’s lots of good links.

The Voice of Treason has a good editorial on the topic. Treason says, “And while we all sit here and fiddle with words, embassies in Damascus are burning.”

And, if you’re interested, the international version of the Jyllands-Posten, the paper that ignited the whole controversy, can be found here.

Last, but certainly not least, Mark Steyn writes a piece that makes some excellent points. A lot of folks are quoting this piece, but I think they are focusing on the wrong set of points in it. Here’s the important bit:

Very few societies are genuinely multicultural. Most are bicultural: On the one hand, there are folks who are black, white, gay, straight, pre-op transsexual, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, worshippers of global-warming doom-mongers, and they rub along as best they can. And on the other hand are folks who do not accept the give-and-take, the rough-and-tumble of a “diverse” “tolerant” society, and, when one gently raises the matter of their intolerance, they threaten to kill you, which makes the question somewhat moot.

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

Looking Around the Blogosphere

Brian Doss, at Catallarchy, has a great discussion on Treaties, Sovereignty and Binding Legal Authority. Apparently, there was an earlier discussion that brought up the idea that the US had ceded some of its sovereignty to the United Nations and could not declare war, in all cases, without UN authorization. Brian does an excellent job of explaining why this is not the case.

Brad Warbiany gives us his take on The Future of Liberty. He has an optimistic and upbeat view of the future, one that I personally share as well.

Perry Eidelbus takes a look at the birth rate and marriage rate in France and other Western countries and then discusses the problems that this brings to light for a social structure built on young workers paying for the retirement of the aged population in his article Hardly Something France Should be Proud of.

Resistance is Futile brings us Carnival of Cordite #45, which focuses on, appropriately enough, firearms involving the number 45.

An entry about the NSA and their wiretapping led to a discussion of the 4th Amendment at Hammer of Truth. Interesting discussion, and one that illustrates, to me, how important it is to determine the law through a textual reading, rather than an interpretive reading, of the law.

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

Driving ‘Round The Blogosphere

Light, and not so light, reading for a Saturday evening.

David Rossie, at De Gustibus, went to a talk by John Lott. He has some interesting observations on Lott, not quite what I would have expected.
I inadvertently typed Trent Lott when I meant John Lott. I can read and comprehend English, I really can. But sometimes, it seems, I can’t type it.

Clara, at The Liberty Belles, has an interesting economic proposition for dealing with the inherent injustice that a man has no say in whether an abortion occurs, under the law today.

Patri Friedman, at Catallarchy, discusses the motivation of suicide bombers. I disagree with him.

Trent McBride, at Catallarchy, discusses Parents vs. The State. A must read if you want to have your knee jerk, gut instinct reaction challenged.

Stephen Macklin, at Hold The Mayo, has a personal tale showing us that state regulation does not equal state protection or justice.

Stephen Gordon, at Hammer of Truth, gives us a good discussion of when it is, and is not, okay to use the bible, or any other religious text, in a government school curriculum.

Lisa Renee, at Liberal Common Sense, has a pretty cool Flash video of a Christmas extraganza.

On a side note, if I link someone in a “Drive ‘Round …” post, I also add them to the blogroll.

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

Driving ‘Round the Blogosphere

Interesting reading to check out in your spare minute a day.

Brian Doss, of Catallarchy, talks about what is seen and not seen with the creation of an ubiquitious Public Internet in this entry. Having been around the Internet, BBS (FidoNET), etc. about as long as Brian, all I can say is that he’s right and Al Gore is wrong.

See my article and Below the Beltway’s article for an interesting discussion of air travel security.

Lisa Renee of Liberal Common Sense tells us an interesting story about her daughter and a “modeling” agency. The thing that struck me? She recognizes that her daughter has to learn through her own experience, make her own decisions, live her own life. I wonder if our politicians raise their children the way they run the country, or the way that Lisa raises her kids?

Difster gives us a great suggestion for conversations with PETA members.

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball
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